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The change of zoos in Brazil through time (Belo Horizonte zoo)

Discussion in 'Zoo History' started by David Matos Mendes, 7 Aug 2020.

  1. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Althoug most of the brazilian public zoos still need a few changes on a few structures, we can't let to notice how they changed in the last decades, Once the animal welfare (or animal welness) is a concept that fortunately gained a lot of space in the modern times.Here I'm posting a "before and after" of Belo Horizonte zoo, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
    Obs: All the pictures in my posts are from my authory, but the old pictures are from the zoo's archive, wich were and exposed in the zoo's 60th birthday last year, and I photographed these pictures.

    1 - Aquatic birds lake - (first pic - 1980, second and third pics - 2019; nowadays it is named japanese garden and displays a few swan and koi fish species)

    DSC0561c1.jpg DSCN0414.JPG DSC05125.JPG


    2 Elephant house and exhibit - (first pic - 1969, second and third pics - 2019) The exhibit improved two times it's size and got a new sleeping area for the three african elephants that now live there. DSC05579copia.jpg DSC05758.JPG DSC05565.JPG

    3 - Big cat exhibits - (First pic - 1979, second pic - 2019) probably the most drastic change. For many years the big cats lived in very small cages, untill a big renovation in the 80's, wich brought 1300 square meters habitats for lions, tigers, jaguars and pumas. Even though the present exhibits don't have the most natural aspect in the world, they have enough space and structures that the animals need.
    DSC05602 copia.jpg
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    4 - Bird plaza - (First pic - 1980, second and third pics - 2019) DSC05600 copia.jpg DSC05186.JPG

    There's much more to compare... the topic has reached the limit of 10 pics, so, please, tell me if you want more pictures of this one and more brazilian zoos comparisson from the old structures and now.

    Hope you enjoy the big transformations!
     
    Last edited: 7 Aug 2020
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  2. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Very intresting photos. Do you maybe have a species-list for this ( at least in the western world ) quite unknown' zoo ?
     
  3. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! You mean a list with all the zoo species? I sure have. Should I post it in a specific forum topic like the zoo's profile?
     
  4. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    You can but you can also post it in this thread.
    Looking forward to see which species are kept !
    Already thanks for this
     
  5. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes, so i'm posting it here. Very happy to be able to make more people know this zoo that is so special for me and everyone in my beautiful Belo Horizonte. I just need a small time to translate the species names to english and gonna send it here
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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  7. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Agree with you here David, I do think that the big cat enclosures at Belo Horizonte are a very drastic change.

    I would even go as far to say that these sizes and landscaping, even if these are not on European or American level (if that is even a metric which can be used as a comparison ?), put those of a lot of other Brazilian zoos to shame actually.

    Not strictly related to the thread but I would add that they are actually very similar in design / size and landscaping to the enclosures for the big cats in Guadalajara zoo, Mexico.
     
  8. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, I think the same...:) Way much better than all big cat/ big carnivore exhibits I have ever seen in my zoo visits around Brazil, except for the Brasilia zoo, wich I thought it was very alike... I'm about to visit São Paulo zoo for the first time soon, but from what I have seen in pictures, their lion/tiger/bear exhibits are kinda harder for the guest to view the animals, and loose a lot of space with the protection coves, while in Belo horizonte, the coves are accessible for the animals, in the same time they are a bareer... I bet if Belo Horizonte improved the exhibit's appearence (like adding fake rocks, waterfalls, etc) the enclosures would be equivalent to any modern zoos structures. And yes, I also think they're really very alike to Guadalajara's ones I used to see in Dana Ventura's tv shows... :D
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2020
  9. Newzooboy

    Newzooboy Well-Known Member

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    Lovely thread for a zoo that very few people on here will have visited.
     
  10. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! I imagined very few foreign people knew this zoo, I thought this would maybe be a way to introduce it to you guys :D hope everyone likes it...
     
  11. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Well... So I decided to follow up this thread today, and i'm gonna show a little abou the history of the gorillas at the brazilian zoo of Belo Horizonte, and show the evolutions of the methods and structures used to keep these animals there (when we're done with this zoo , I may post more before/after pictures or stories/ curious cases of other brazilian zoos I have visited)

    So, let's start:

    1- The first couple of western lowland gorillas arrived around 1975, and they were housed on the exhibit showed in the first picture. At the time, this zoo, as most of these institutions at the time, didn't care a lot about the animal welfare, and we can observe an enclosure with no trees/plants for animal ambientation, nor any areas for the animals to have privacy (except for the backstage areas, wich at the time, weren't as well structured as nowadays).


    "Idi" and "Dada" on their first exhibit in 1975
    DSC05603 copia.jpg

    After three years since the arrival of the animals, the female, "Dada", died of some unknown disease, and left Idi, the male, alone. On the following years, another female arrived from São Paulo zoo, but died 14 days after arriving. Idi followed alone for 27 years, being the only gorilla living in the entire south american continent, and having his enclosure renovated a few times, and then, he received, in 2011, two mates that came from England: Imbi and kifta. Unfortunately, even the zoo tried many ways to make reproduction happen between the members of the group, Idi and kifta actually died with a short space of time between each obit. This way, zoo BH started to receive many nacional/international critics because the way they were treating animals.



    First exhibit that the gorillas lived in the zoo wasn't renovated untill the early 2000's. In the picture, gorilla "Idi" walks around his not very well structured exhibit in 1987
    DSC05604 copia.jpg

    Maybe with the last chance it had, in 2012 zoo BH received the acceptance of the european association on zoos and aquariums to receive a female ("Lou lou") and a male gorilla ("León") (that came from Howletts and Loro Parque, respectively) to share the exhibit with Imbi and try once more the reproduction. Fortunately, this time, the group went well, and the first baby, "Sawidi" was born in 2014, being the first gorilla to be born in South America, and the second in Latin America.(after Faustina, from Guadalajara, México)

    Since then, three other babies were born (Jahari, Ayo and Anaya, respectively) and shows the commitment of the zoo with their gorilla group, wich nowadays represent the only reproductively active gorilla group in Latin America, and one of the two zoos in this continent that keeps gorillas. This way, the zoo got a good reputation about gorilla keeping and more international recognizement. The seven animals now live in a 2500 square meters exhibit that is entirely landscaped to look like an african jungle. This is probably, together with São Carlos zoo's spectaced bear exhibit, the most related to modern concepts home for captivity animals in Brazil. Now enjoy the pictures of this beautiful place and it's inhabitants!


    Gorilla's jungle in the present days, from the regular gues viewing platform.
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    Male silverback gorilla "León", only adult male in the group, and father of all the four gorillas born in the zoo. DSCN0582.JPG

    Gorillas forraging in front of the glass tunnel viewing area.
    DSCN0594.JPG

    "Imbi" and her two sons: "Jahari" (older) and "Ayo" (younger).
    DSCN0589.JPG

    "León" with his younger male kid, "Ayo"
    DSC06105.JPG
     
  12. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much @David Matos Mendes for this very intresting piece of zoo-history and realy great to hear this story has an happy end !
     
  13. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! Happy you liked it! Yes, indeed it's very good we had a happy end
     
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  14. Newzooboy

    Newzooboy Well-Known Member

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    Another great historical piece David!!

    Clearly you are interested in zoo history (of your local zoo anyway) - maybe have a look here..

    The Bartlett Society

    It's a shame there are not more pictures of the old enclosures. Maybe your friends and family might have some older photographs?
     
  15. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! I'm very happy you enjoyed this post. I'm definitely very interested about zoo history (my local zoo mainly, (because it is a very important part of my memories) but also in general) To be honest, zoo history is one of my favorite topics, together with environmental education and animal welfare. Thank you so much for the page link you sent me, definitely gonna take a look at it, I have always had a special interest in those pioneer public zoos (London, Paris, Vienna...) and I always enjoy reading about them.
    About the pictures, it's unfortunately very difficult to find registers of the old times of Belo Horizonte, with a long time looking for, I only found one, and the other is from my friend's acerve; but i'm definitely gonna try to find more! Once more, thank you.
     
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  16. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    I actually have these ones in my archive ( not my authory, they're probably from the 1980's) Once they're similar to the others, I didn't put them in the post, but the colored one gives a better notion of the exhibit. But i'm gonna ask a friend of mine that works at the zoo if she has more pictures of the gorillas place and the zoo in general, so i'll be even posting here in the following updates of this thread. idi amim 5.jpg 1187297_300029866801788_1144927910_n.jpg idiamin.jpg
     
  17. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    David, it would be really interesting (for me and I think for many other zoochatters) to learn more about the history that Belo Horizonte Zoo has had with keeping the Northern Muriqui.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2020
  18. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Oh, good you remembered me about this species that BH kept! I'm definitely gonna contact a friend of mine that works at the zoo to ask her the entire history that our city's zoo has with the muriquis. From what I know, we no longer have them (either in exhibit, nor in the restricted area), but they had quite an interesting story here. This is probably the issue that is gonna be on my next post (in this thread or another one, depending on the amount of information I get) a big thanks for the idea, I actually had almost forgot about this part of our zoo's history.
     
  19. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    No problem David, just thought I would mention it as it is really intriguing.

    All I know personally is that there was a lone female kept there for a while (like within the last decade or perhaps the decade before ?) and that there were historically some plans to begin a captive colony of the Northern species at BH. It was a plan to achieve something similar to what has been done with the Southern muriqui in the Sorocaba and Curitiba zoos.

    I have absolutely no idea what happened with this idea or indeed what happened to this individual but evidently it didn't work out. I've always been curious to know what happened as it is a great shame that a colony wasn't established at BH as muriquis (both Northern and Southern) could definitely benefit from more ex-situ conservation by zoos.

    It is a pretty controversial issue though and historically there was quite a fierce debate between field biologists / researchers and captive institutions such as the Rio primate centre about whether to take more of this species into captivity.

    Personally, all things considered, I am mostly (though not dogmatically) in favour of taking select numbers of muriquis and many other species of endangered primates here in Brazil into captivity for ex-situ breeding. Lets face it the threats facing them in the wild are dire and are only getting worse as time goes on.
     
    Last edited: 13 Aug 2020
  20. David Matos Mendes

    David Matos Mendes Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's all I know too... I'm just unsure if it was a male or a female, I'll try to know more about their story and gonna post here, it's really such a shame we couldn't stablish a healthy group around here... I may also agree with the idea of maybe capturing some in nature (of course, taking all the cares, and not getting a big number) to help this very endangered species... BH tried to capture one hurted one once to make a couple with the one we already had here, but unfortunately, this individual was never seen again in the wild...

    Fracassa resgate de fêmea de macaco-muriqui que seria trazida ao Zoo de BH